Yes, football starts tonight and so it’s time for this year’s installment. It’s become one of those things for me, when I post this it’s time for the NFL to kick off. This year I’m doing it a little late… well, actually, a LOT late considering that tonight is the opening kickoff, but better late than never, I say. So, to start off, as you can see by the title, this thread is dedicated to the late Khadaji, a longtime loyal Steelers fan like myself, a prolific contributor to these threads, gone far too soon.
Now, I could start by talking a whole bunch of trash, but I won’t. That comes later. Right now I’ll start with a clear-eyed review of the Steelers.
Offense: Todd Haley is a bum. Whatever he’s doing, nobody is buying into it. In spite of that, the Steelers have Ben healthy under center, and if he can stay that way things will happen. Unfortunately, that’s about it. Heath Miller is still out, Antonio Brown will draw double coverage, Emmanuel Sanders hasn’t proven himself yet, and the rest of that cupboard is bare. The running game? Who knows? The new kid, Bell, has a lot of upside, but he’s laid up to start the season. Redman gets the start backed up by Felix Jones, a guy with lots of talent but a questionable heart. Also, the Steelers have had trouble in the past few years putting it into the end zone. Will it all come together? Time will tell. The really good news, though, is that the offensive line is pretty young and will only get better as time goes on.
Defense: Troy is healthy, Goddamn Ike Taylor is still getting burned like an arsonist in Hell, the linebackers will have a really good season with the rookie Jarvis Jones seeing a lot of time, Cortez Allen looked really good in preseason… They’ll still be really good, though with Taylor and a few missed Polamalu gambles they’ll still give up some big plays. We’ll see how it goes. If they can’t manufacture turnovers, something they couldn’t do last year, nothing else will matter.
Special teams: HAHAHAHA! The Steelers’ special teams are garbage. They gave up a 109-yard return, a blocked field goal and a blocked punt in preseason. The good news is that they can only get better. The bad news is that they have to.
As for the rest of the division, Baltimore will come down to Earth now that Mr. Stabby is gone and Succo ate his team’s payroll and has nobody to throw to, not to mention that he was already erratic at best. Pack 8 in the box and jam Torrey Smith and you’re money. Cleveland? They still play in the Factory of Sadness, their owner is mired in a scandal, their coach is a rookie, their quarterback is a geriatric palooka… yeah, nothing will change there. The Bungles? This is an historic era they’re going through right now, they’re in the midst of a few good years in a row. It can’t last, but they probably do well this year. My sister could complete 60% of her passes going to A.J. Green, so they have that going for them, at least.
But this thread is where I express my unbridled optimism for the upcoming season. Pundits put the Steelers at 7-9, maybe 8-8. I’m going to go against the grain (imagine that) and say that they take the division at 10-6. As always, hope springs eternal (hence the thread title), but let’s be honest. This is a rebuilding year. They have the tools to take the division, let’s see if they actually do it.
Also, FOOTBALL! God I missed it. It’s so good to be back.